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The Rediff Special/Col John Taylor (retd)

'The Mujahideen will be the cause of Pakistan's disintegration'

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The booms of the Bofors and the rat-tat-tat of automatic firing have finally stopped. 'Withdrawal Completed' scream the media headlines. All is silent in the Kargil sector -- only the serene majestic snow-clad mountains stand in mute testimony to the past ravages and aggressions and wait patiently for the next round when once again the pure white snow will be savaged by blood, mutilated bodies, cordite and screams of agony from soldiers falling to their deaths on both sides.

Pakistan has been given a bloody nose and sent packing. Of that there is no doubt. The raw courage and bravery of our officers and jawans has once again proved the fighting mettle of our armed forces. The nation has realised with awe and pride, that the only bastion of 'Honour' and 'Service before self', even in today's corrupt environment, has stood the test and emerged unblemished. As India celebrates a great victory, let us see how long (or how quickly) will the martyrs be remembered (or forgotten).

Pakistan today is in a very unenviable position. Militarily defeated, diplomatically isolated and a very worried Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief unable to answer his nation or pacify the Mujahideen outfits. Sharief did not avert a war, as he claimed in his TV broadcast to his nation on July 12, 1999; rather, he gave his nod of approval and watched helplessly as his army and the Mujahideen came to grief.

By attempting to hoodwink and deceive his countrymen over how and why the war in Kargil was started, the reasons that compelled him to comply with President Clinton's demand to withdraw, and the pathetic performance of the Pakistan army in Kargil, reminds one of the same vulnerable position Field Marshal Ayub Khan got himself into in 1965. The field marshal also told a number of lies about Pakistan's aggression in 1965 and then had to face reality -- and the resultant wrath of the people, stemming from their ego and pride. The field marshal was overthrown -- the rest is history. What fate awaits Nawaz Sharief -- time will soon tell!

No Solution

Pakistan has been humiliated. Nearly 300 Indian officers and jawans have lost their lives in the Kargil war -- unofficial figures maybe much higher. In the present 'high' state of euphoria, the nation seems to have forgotten that over 5000 soldiers have been killed over the past decade, fighting Pakistan sponsored insurgencies. The recent desperate attacks on BSF locations in and around Srinagar, may well be a warning of further escalation. Kargil was no solution.

Pakistani Casteism

Unfortunately like India's incurable gangrenous sore of casteism, Pakistan also has her provincial castes. The Punjabis in Pakistan, referred to as PMs (Punjabi Muslims) by the British, have always dominated the center of all power -- the armed forces. The Sindhis, Pathans and Baluchis (of the NWFP) have been totally sidelined. The Mohajirs and the Kashmiris are looked down upon and have no say. The Shias and the Ahmadias are shunned for their religious interpretation of Islam and live in constant fear of their lives. One theory is that the Kargil sector was selected by Pakistan as it needed to be cleansed of its Shia community (every Muslim home in Kargil town is adorned with a large portrait of Ayatollah Khomeini). Pakistan wants J&K to be divided into a Hindu Jammu & Udhampur, Muslim (Sunni) Srinagar valley including Kargil and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and a Buddhist Ladakh. Our Pakistani friends have learnt that the British Doctrine of divide and rule can be very effective!

The Taliban -- Bin Laden Nexus

The war in Kargil has shown that the Taliban-Bin Laden combine is an adversary not only to India but the international community as well. This is one of the reasons for the international community to rally around India's stand. India particularly needs to understand the Taliban-Bin Laden nexus for its own security. For the time being Bin Laden's supported Mujahideen will continue to try wreck havoc in the Valley.

Pakistan was at pains to show the world and highlight the victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan, after the Russians withdrew from Afghanistan. This was her greatest mistake. As the ravaging Islamic fundamentalists, the Mujahideen returned to Pakistan, the Pakistani government did not know what to do with them. At present they have been diverted to the Kashmir Valley (and Kargil). Even today they cannot be 'controlled', as admitted by Nawaz Sharief and the Chief of the Pakistan Army General Parvez Musharraf. History stands witness that countries which unleash terrorism or insurgency on their neighbours ultimately fall prey to the scourge themselves. The Mujahideen will want their pound of flesh. Having taken a beating in Kargil, they will return to Pakistan and turn the guns given to them on their own benefactors (Pakistan). Mujahideen outfits and training camps have mushroomed all over Pakistan.

After the Pakistani withdrawal from Kargil, most groups claim with great bravado that Nawaz Sharief does not control them. He is being scorned by the very people he has raised and nurtured. Fundamentalism preaches hatred. It is fundamentalism, and not Islam that motivates the fanatical Mujahideen to commit murder, and to die as in Kargil, in some unknown foreign land. Ultimately the Mujahideen will be the cause of Pakistan's disintegration.

The Rediff Specials

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